AMEY announced a 25% rise in pre-tax profit to £18.7m for the year ending 31 December 1998, compared with £14.6m in 1997.

The contracting-to-facilities management group's turnover was up 21% to £471m, with earnings per share up 35% to 42.02p.

Amey Ventures, which was set up in 1998 to deliver private finance initiative projects, recorded a profit of £500 000 in its first year. Amey chairman Neil Ashley predicted continuing growth from the PFI specialist and an incidental flow of work for Amey's construction arm.

Construction activities yielded a pre-tax profit of £2.3m on a turnover of £228m, compared with last year's loss of £400 000.

Ashley said the group had benefited from concentrating on its core outsourcing and infrastructure management activities. These now account for 91% of Amey's profit, generated from 50% of its turnover.

Ashley said Amey Rail had confronted some challenging issues in the past year. The firm did not renew maintenance contracts with Railtrack in Bristol or Wales.

Ashley indicated that the group would be looking for further key acquisitions in 1999.

Amey has won £600m of orders this year, including a £60m PFI deal with London Underground for a headquarters for the British Transport Police on Tottenham Court Road.